2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Jake Villanueva, OL, Ithaca College
- Name: Jake Villanueva
- Position: OL
- College: Ithaca College
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 320 lbs
- Twitter: @JakeVilly
- Instagram: @JakeVilly_
What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?
I grew up playing multiple sports, every sport that you could think of except for football. I was always too big to play Pop Warner football because I could never make the weight requirements. I started playing football in middle school when there was no longer weight limitations. I instantly fell in love with football and will carry that love for the rest of my life.
What are you looking to achieve as a football player going forward?
I am looking to build off of my collegiate career and continue to improve my skill set and football IQ into the professional level.
If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?
I would definitely choose Lane Johnson. He is one of the best offensive lineman in the NFL. His versatility in run and pass blocking is tremendous and I would love to have a day to pick his brain and discuss different blocking techniques. I also have the utmost respect for Lane Johnson as he has spoken out on mental health and brought awareness to the issue.
What are your favorite moments from your football life?
My favorite moments all revolve around the camaraderie and brotherhood with my fellow teammates that I can now call my brothers. We have all sacrificed so much and put in a lot of time and effort to be in the position we are today. The relationships that I created with my teammates are going to last a lifetime, in 50 years no one is going to remember how many points we scored in a game rather the group of guys that did it. The memories that I made with my brothers and coaches will last a lifetime.
Which one of your family members inspires you the most and why?
I would have to say my Dad, both my parents were born in the Philippines and came to the United States when they were 22 years old with just a suitcase each. The sacrifices that he has made for my family and I to live the life we have today are countless and I will forever be grateful to him for that. He inspires me to be the best version of myself day in and day out. I wish that one day I could have the same work ethic and passion that he has in order to have a successful life for me and my family.
What is your favorite offensive scheme and why?
I enjoy playing in a Pro-style offense, because it allows the offensive line numerous opportunities to block in the pass and run. I also like how this balanced style of offense keeps the defense on its toes, this advantage allows the offense to stay one step ahead.
What should we know about Jake Villanueva the person?
I would consider myself a hardworking, task oriented, selfless person. When I am given a task I will go to the extreme to complete it to the best of my ability. Being an offensive lineman teaches you to become a selfless person, we are not in the spotlight as some other positions but it doesn’t matter, I sacrifice my body every play in order for the ball carriers to be successful. I care more about the teams success rather than individual success, I would trade in any amount of personal accolades for team success in a heartbeat.
What stands out about your film the most?
I would have to say my physicality and footwork stand out most. Throughout my film you can see me enforcing physicality in the run and pass game. In pass blocking, I am always looking to find work and putting defenders in the ground. In the run, I am working great techniques on double teams and moving defensive lineman off the ball then coming off to pick up linebackers. My footwork I can attest to playing basketball for 18 years, my footwork allows me to move swiftly and rapidly in space in order to pick up defenders for the ball carrier.
How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?
In life I depend on my inner circle of friends and family to get me through challenges, I am grateful to have friends and family that will go to extreme lengths to help me with any challenges that arise in life. On the football field while facing challenges, I revert back to my training and preparation. My coaches have done a great job of preparing me for adversity. My former head coach had a saying that “when adversity hits, you sink to the level of your training” and I am a firm believer in that.
What would a team get in a player like you?
A team would be getting a player that is fully invested in the organization, they will have my undivided attention for as long as I am a player for them. They would be getting a committed and loyal person that always puts the team over personal success. I am highly coachable and am able to make adjustments without hesitation. Being a former collegiate team captain, I strive to be the best teammate that I can be. I want every single one of my teammates to feel comfortable enough to come up to me with any on or off field issues that they may have.
What do you love the most about the game of football?
The thing that I love most about football is the team aspect of the sport. It’s takes all 11 people on the field to do there job in order to have a successful play, if one person fails to do there job then there’s a good chance that it’s a bad play. In relation to that is the camaraderie and brotherhood of the sport, I trust all my teammates to play to the best of there abilities and I hope that they trust me to do my 1/11th.
Who is the most underrated player you’ve played with and why?
The most underrated player I’ve ever played with is my fellow offensive lineman Brendan Martin. I played next to him for three years and can confidently say he is one of the best players I’ve ever played with. His attention to detail week in and week out were a credit to the amount of film he watched every week on our opponents. He was one of the most hardworking players on our team whether it was practice, lift, or meetings. He pushed me to be my best self on and off the field and I will always be thankful to have him as a teammate.